Nope…not what you think here. We know the Patriots are worth watching. But everyone and their brother are writing about the Patriots this week, after their somewhat unexpected lopsided win over the Broncos this past Sunday. So there’s no need to touch on them here today. Long way to go, but the win was satisfying, needless to say.
The Bruins? A couple of injuries should not temper expectations there, especially early in the season. So it’s not about them.
The Revolution? Making a run in the playoffs is always a good thing for a local team. But this is about all of the space I want to use on them.
The Red Sox are in the offseason, so that leaves…the Celtics??
I watched pretty much all of their first three games. Based on last season, one may say that could be a form of torture. I had low expectations, that is for sure. But I have to say, other than two absolutely putrid first quarters on the road against strong contenders from the Western Conference (37-22 deficit against Houston on Saturday and 40-19 deficit against Dallas on Monday), the team has been, dare I say, entertaining? Well, for the most part anyway.
The win against Brooklyn on Opening Night in Boston was nice, but I’m not getting carried away with it. Despite still having some big names in Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and an aging Kevin Garnett, not to mention an injured Brook Lopez not playing, the Nets should not be contenders. Unless those overseas guys that most people have never heard of are actually players. But I’m not jumping on that bandwagon. They may make the playoffs in the rancid Eastern Conference when all is said and done. But I don’t believe anyone is afraid of the Nets.
But the two games on the road against stud teams from the West is what opened my eyes a bit. Again, other than the first quarters.
I’ll admit, I still want to deal Rajon Rondo. I just don’t see him as someone that can “carry” a team. He is a good player, great when he wants to be. But not a leader. And not someone you build a team around. Plus, lest we forget, his contract runs out after this year. And he is definitely not a max contract guy.
I have been hugely disappointed in Jeff Green, which has been no secret. I thought getting him in the Kendrick Perkins deal was a steal. Sure it may have hurt a little that year, I thought initially. But it wouldn’t kill their championship dreams that year and would be extremely beneficial going forward. Looks like I was wrong with those thoughts.
I still think the Celtics should trade guys like Brandon Bass (should be a good 6th-8th man on a good team), Gerald Wallace (ok, this ain’t happening), Green and any other veteran who does not fit going forward (Evan Turner? Marcus Thornton?).
I didn’t love the Avery Bradley contract. Seemed like a lot of dough for a player like that…great defense, inconsistent offense. But if reports are to be believed, someone was going to pay him. And he is only 23 and still has upside. So maybe…
I’m not sure I am as high on the upside as some regarding Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger…or James Young and Marcus Smart, for that matter.
Still had a lot of question marks heading into the season, as you can see. Felt that the team was still in transition (and it is), especially when one considers all of the upcoming draft picks they have in their pocket. Did not like some of the stuff they did to get under the cap (trading Keith Bogans for nothing…unless this Dwight Powell guy turns into something; eating Will Bynum’s 2.9 mil, after unloading Joel Anthony to get him and create some relief; waiving a decent bench guy in Chris Johnson, instead of dumping other, more useless, bodies; etc.). Ok, most of those were minor and not even really worth talking about, but still part of the overall equation.
But I always loved the coach. I had no idea what Brad Stevens was going to bring to the table when they hired him before last season. No idea. But I loved the hire at the time. Take a chance on a successful college coach instead of hiring another retread who was just “minding the store” until the tide turned (ML Carr anyone?). Then when the season progressed, to see the players still play hard for Stevens despite the circumstances (Tankapalooza!) was extremely encouraging. They seemed to be in most games. Didn’t get waxed a whole ton throughout the year.
So far this year, I love what the coach is doing. The roster is still deficient, but I’m in favor of how Stevens is handling it in the early going. Especially the part where he glues Wallace and Phil Pressey to the bench. The team still doesn’t really have a center, kind of surprising that Dwight Howard couldn’t take advantage of that the other day. So Stevens is mixing and matching…and doing it effectively for the most part. Throwing the 3 guards (Rondo, Bradley & Smart…all with tremendous defensive reputations) out there at once is intriguing. Won’t work all the time, but it was pretty intense in the 2nd half against Dallas. But Stevens also seems to be spotting guys like Tyler Zeller, Thornton and Turner out there at the right times as well. Loved the fight in the team in the comebacks in both road games, especially against the Mavs.
One thing I’m not huge on is all the threes that are being hoisted up…more importantly, some of the guys taking a ton of threes, such as Olynyk and Sullinger…though Rondo, Bass and even Smart firing them up don’t really excite me either. Especially after that 1-25 effort against Houston. If they can reign that in and take them a little more judiciously, it would make me feel a whole lot better.
Anyway, after three games, admittedly a very small sample size, there are encouraging signs. But the Eastern Conference is atrocious, there is some talent on this team, the coach appears to be a keeper and there are “assets” in place to make some moves. If you sum it all up, could be an interesting year. It’d be hard to go Tankapalooza II this year with some of the talent they do have…and the extreme lack of talent other teams have in the league. So why not keep heading in the up direction if you can?
Of course now that I write this, they’ll probably throw up a stinkbomb against Toronto tonight…
Posted on November 5, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged Avery Bradley, Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Eastern Conference, Evan Turner, Jeff Green, Marcus Smart, NBA, Playoffs, Rajon Rondo. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.